Olifants and Balule
On a scorching February day, we drove the game drive roads along the Olifants River to Balule Satellite Camp – our first time staying in this section of the camp. The temperatures were oppressive, although you wouldn’t believe it watching the elephants as they drank in sun from the shallows of the river. On reaching camp, we met our neighbour – a woman who made regular solo trips to Kruger. It was something she had done often with her husband and, after he passed away, it remained their connection after he died. We’ve seen her on separate trips since, so the Kruger connection deepens.
That night, in a heat that defied darkness, we watched the stars as a leopard called from just beyond the fence. The camp was filled with a buzz of energy and a collective sigh of “if only”.
We later stayed at – and rather fell in love with – the fence-line chalets at Oliphants Camp. Perched at the top of a hill, this isn’t a half-bad spot to watch the helix of the river with a pair of binoculars – watching for distant game with plenty of birds and dwarf mongooses for those more focused on the near-at-hand.
The early-morning views from camp – and as you drive down the hill to the river – is exquisite. The moody mists burn off and the river almost takes on a new character through the day. Taking some time on the bridge rarely disappoints. From here, we have watched lines of elephants drink, bathe, and cross – the river a waypoint on elephant routes. We have watched a stranded giraffe warily watch the river, surrounded by crocodiles waiting for an opportunity. We have seen the air filled with the titter and glide of little swifts – a migration of the skies. As they fly under the bridge beneath you, another Kruger connection of earth, water, and sky.
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